Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 3 May 2019

Three events for shoe enthusiasts over London Craft Week

Can you tell who these London bespoke shoemakers are?

Welcome back good shoemakers and shoe enthusiasts, amongst the many events we've organised for next week are three shoemaking highlights.

The James Kearns Lecture

Since the turn of the 20th century, the phrase “avant-garde” has come to be associated less with its battlefield roots and more with the arts and culture; used to describe the pioneers and innovators associated with a particular period or movement.  

James is one such pioneer in the fashion world, one of only a handful of designers, pushing boundaries and leading innovation in clothing and footwear.

James is self-taught, working with very little machinery, inspired by traditional cordwaining methods and with a love for high quality, hard-to-source leather. He melds traditional craft with incredibly inventive, experimental techniques that breath new life into how the leather is used and worn; creating unique footwear and a very personal retail experience for his customers.

Come hear his story on Thursday 9 May at 10am - Book here £10

A Conversation of Cordwainers, Friday 10th May 1pm

A Conversation of Cordwainers with James Kearns, Sebastian Tarek, James Ducker, Dominic Casey and Felix Jouanneau 
As a two-man band running a bespoke shoe business James and I often feel our work sits a little too far under the radar and we wanted to do something about it. London Craft Week seemed the perfect opportunity and we thought, why not invite our peers to join us and to create an online event to fly the flag of independent London bespoke shoemakers to a global audience? 

So we're delighted to welcome Sebastian Tarek, James Kearns, Dominic Casey and Felix Jouanneau to Chocolate Studios for A Conversation of Cordwainers. With Permanent Style's Simon Crompton at the helm and the juicy topic of "What's the point of bespoke?" we are expecting some lively and interesting debate. 

Follow us on Instagram and you will get notification when we go live @carreducker on instagram at 1pm on Friday 10 May.

Thanks to generous co-sponsorship from the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers we're delighted to be creating a short film of the event to be broadcast on 17 May via all channels - You Tube, websites, social media etc..  

The New Cordwainers exhibition


Handsewn shoemaking is one of the hardest crafts physically and mentally demanding, so we're proud to be able to showcase our students' work in this exhibition of finished shoes alongside the raw materials they are crafted from and 'work in progress', shoes at varying stages of making. 

Come see the fruits of their hard labours and to see the new school space and bespoke showroom at Chocolate Studios.

Friday 10 May 6-8pm (Private view)
Saturday 11am - 6pm Open Day

We hope to see you during London Craft Week. You can find information on all of the events we're taking part in and can book onto them here

Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Monday, 29 April 2019

Dog Collar Workshop - LCW2019

London Craft Week workshop - a huge thank you to Betty for modelling

Welcome back good shoemakers and here we are, with a post-weekend post. We've lots to share in the run up to London Craft Week next Wednesday to Sunday including lectures, talks, exhibitions, Open Days and workshops.

First up is more information about the two Dog Collar making workshops with the wonderful Frances Pinnock on Sunday 12 May. 

If you can, do book on a class because, as James and I have found, saddle stitch is a great skill to learn and you'll suddenly find yourself repairing vintage bags and leather chair seats or making your own leather accessories; plus it perfectly complements shoemaking and you might even be tempted to hand stitch some uppers! 

In the workshop you'll learn how to create a sharp crease line along the length of the collar and to burnish the edges to gives them an attractive sheen. Then you'll attach the solid brass roller buckle and D-ring, British-made by Abbey England;

and the keeper - the band of leather that holds the end of the strap in place.

As you can see, the collar itself is cut from supple, 4mm thick natural veg. tanned leather in a slightly grained bordeaux colour.  

Then it's stitching time, five short rows to secure each piece in place with satisfyingly chunky stay stitches at the beginning and end. Then it's time to punch the holes for the buckle and to personalise your collar with initials, a monogram or punch hole patterns. 

And there you are, you've made a beautiful dog collar for your BFF. 

The three-hour workshops are at 10am and 2pm on Sunday 12 May and cost £45. Click here to book your place.

Beautiful Betty